Friday Musings 8/25/2017

This week I have been thinking about how authors wrestle with self doubt and failure. There are many articles and journal entries that solidify this. 

One of the worst emotions is not feeling adequate enough to practice a passion you love. There may be times when skills are forgotten and you wonder how the hell am I going to pull this off? Am I a failure? Look at his/her writing, they really got it together. But it's quite possible those who seem to have no troubles are having the same, if not more, trouble than you are. Don't sell yourself short. 

Forgetting a skill isn't literally that--forgetting. I'd say its more like misplacing the skill. It happened to me. I believe I even wrote about it in a post. See, I blame the day job, as it's really the root of all the problems I face concerning my writing--the biggest hurdle. Getting back to the misplaced skill, it's hard to pinpoint the exact moment where it started, but I connect it to an insident where I came late one morning to work and promised my lead it would never happen again. Being I didn't want to ever go back to retail work, I made sure that it didn't happen again. I shut off the creative side to focus on the things I needed to do at that moment. The logical side, I guess you could say. This was 11 or 12 some-odd years ago until current day. 

I've been able to remedy this here and there, to try and squeeze out productivity--which makes me feel like a rebel going against the grain at work (you know, seeing most everyone else with no purpose but to shop and play games online while I edit a story),but that's OK. 

And the techniques devised are not the same as being as far away from that place as possible. [three "as," I know, sorry]. That is when the real magic will happen, when I'm free of that horror--I won't go into specifics of the horror here. Of course, I need to survive, so the day job is a necessary, at least for now. The techniques I've devised to help keep my mind straight help alot, so it's not a total loss. And at least I'm aware now, so I can deal with the insanity of going back and forth. There is a way to shift into creativity and then back to what you need for the job. Finishing writing projects takes more time, yes, but writing still gets done, and that's what matters.  

I was recently slapped in the face, so to speak, by a writing buddy, Gary Buller. I tossed him a story for an opinion (as we frequently do back and forth) and he Lucilled it, a term  coined after the famed AMC show The
Walking Dead. My version is a pencil with paperclip barb around the eraser portion. I joke that I use it to edit stories. So he turned it on me this particular time and something in me snapped. 

After apologizing, and giving me the crying laugh smiley a few dozen times, I told him it was cool. I would rather get honest feedback. And while I didn't agree with everything he said, that was fine. It was a fresh splash of water. See, I had been pondering what the hell was going wrong with my writing as of late. I'd look at older work and say, look, i can do it, but then place my fingers on the keyboard, or pen and struggle to remember my process. 

At first I felt insufficient, a wash up. How did I make it to where I am? I can't do this for a living. Then I remembered something I had forgot--maybe my mind misplaced this technique--and I was back at it. I applied some of Gary's advice and then rewrote the entire story (he had only done the beginning portion at that point--all he had time for--but gave an opinion about the rest). Something just snapped into place. The trickle turned into a gush and then an explosion. Before I knew it, I was back!  Of course I had that fear in the back of my mind that I could relapse, but now I knew something I didn't before. So when that happened again, just like when you get a headache you take an aspirin (or whatever you take), I could remember that moment, or re-read the story, or the edit Gary did, and hearken back to the time I defeated that particular doubt. Of course new techniques and practices will happen during my writing voyage, but now I know that it's not the end. 

That's why it's best to keep writing, even if it's just a blog like the one i'm doing here. It really helps you to sort things out--and may even help someone else the way Gary's edit that day helped me remember. The more you practice, the more you keep your mind in shape and it's harder to forget these little tactics. It's also why you read everywhere from authors and such how important it is to read as much as possible. Even if you don't have the education level as some may, you can still learn everything you need to express yourself by practicing and perseverance. Then you just need the imagination. 

So don't beat yourself up over it. You can do it. Your voice is unique. What's in your mind can make a difference in your life, and most likely someone else's, as well. Get into a good group, expand your base. And know, there is always someone out there to help. 

Here's a helpful link I found on Twitter. 

http://lithub.com/8-famous-writers-writing-about-not-writing/

WCM

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